Just As I Thought

Absolutely Tedious

I got my AbFab Season 5 DVDs on Wednesday, and now I’m asking myself… why was I so gung ho to see this show?
This latest series is truly evidence of the old “killing the golden goose” phenomenon. They should have stopped when they were still on top.
The original first couple of years were wonderful — funny, acerbic, and downright nasty with social commentary. The characters were delightfully non-sympathetic, and yet they were written well enough that one sometimes felt empathy with them for their empty lives and difficult childhoods.
Any potential character development was thrown out of the window in series 5. All the characters are one-dimensional ciphers — moreso — and frankly, unfunny. The continual appearances by guest stars, among them Minnie Driver, Elton John, Emma Bunton, and Jean Paul Gautier, might as well have flashing arrows saying “gratuitous.” (In the past, guest stars usually were of the “swinging 60s” set, the very throwbacks that Edina and Patsy always tried to emulate.)
Gran seems to have become stereotypically absent-minded and addle-brained, Bubble simply makes strange noises, and Saffy is almost a footnote — strange, considering that the major arc through the episodes is her baby. She lacks any of the anti-Edina qualities she once had–strangely, she actually rails against a real Christmas tree and defends her petroleum-based plastic one because “it will last forever.” Odd.
Patsy appears to be in her 60s by this time, and that’s even hinted at. But I can’t figure out if it’s due to make-up or if the beautiful Joanna Lumley is actually aging that poorly. In any case, it makes Patsy seem pitiable and she has lost much of her bile and ability to frighten. No one is the least bit threatened by her any longer.
Only one episode was reminiscent of the past triumphs, one in which Edina and Patsy take Saff’s baby to the zoo… to appear in a model shoot. Watching them try to figure out the restroom baby-changing table was priceless. They think that all has gone well when they get home with the baby, but of course, they can’t ever do anything right.
Yes, there were a scant few moments that made me laugh, but spaced over 8 episodes that’s hardly the kind of hilarity Jennifer Saunders used to evoke.
This series, co-produced by Oprah’s Oxygen network, has the feel of a desperate attempt to cash in one more time. For Edina and Patsy’s sake, let’s hope it’s the last.

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